Facebook announces it will prohibit hate speech in ads amid mounting criticism

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Facebook announced Friday it is changing its policies over hate speech amid recent protest against the social media site over its handling of hate speech online.

In a live stream Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg touched on the several steps the social media company will take in an effort to combat hate speech online ahead of the 2020 presidential election — as the number of companies pulling advertisement from its platform continues to grow.

“Three weeks ago, I committed to reviewing our policies ahead of the 2020 elections,” said Zuckerberg.

“That work is ongoing, but today I want to share some new policies to connect people with authoritative information about voting, crack down on voter suppression, and fight hate speech.”

Providing authoritative information on voting during COVID-19 pandemic

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook is creating a Voting Information Center to share authoritative information on how to vote, where to vote and registering to vote either by mail or early voting.

Facebook will implementing the “Voting Information Center” to its Facebook and Instagram apps over the next few months.

Zuckerberg also added that the company is focused on preventing new forms of voter suppression by attaching a link to the Voting Information Center for posts that discuss voting, including from politicians.

“This isn’t a judgement of whether the posts themselves are accurate, but we want people to have access to authoritative information either way,” said Zuckerberg

Voter Suppression

The social media company will use its “Elections Operations Center” in an effort to quickly respond and remove false information about polling conditions within the 72 hours leading up election day.

Facebook will also ban posts that make false claims of ICE agents checking for immigration papers at polling places — a tactic Zuckerberg says “used to discourage voting.”

“We will continue to review our voter suppression policies on an ongoing basis as part of our work on voter engagement and racial justice,” said Zuckerberg.

Hateful content in ads; Protecting immigrants,refugees

In an effort to create a higher standard for hateful content in ads, Facebook says it has invested “heavily” in both AI systems and human review teams to identify nearly 90 percent of hate speech on its platforms.

Under its new policies, Facebook will ban ads that allege people from a specific race, ethnicity, nationality, caste, gender, sexual orientation or immigration origin are a threat to the physical safety, health or survial of others.

Additionally, Zuckerberg says the company will expand its policies to do more to protect immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from ads suggesting the groups are inferior.

Labeling

In recent months, Facebook has been heavily criticized for allowing statements made by President Donald Trump to remain on its site.

On the contrary fellow social media platform, Twitter, took steps recently to label and limit President Trump’s tweets.

Facebook will soon start to label content it chooses to leave online from politicians as Zuckerberg states that “people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms.”

“We’ll allow people to share this content to condemn it, just like we do with other problematic content, because this is an important part of how we discuss what’s acceptable in our society — but we’ll add a prompt to tell people that the content they’re sharing may violate our policies.”

#StopHateForProfit

Facebook’s policy changes come after nearly 100 companies announced they will pull their advertising from the social media platform for the month of July or longer — as part as a movement called #StopHateForProfit.

The #StopHateForProfit boycott Facebook’s failure to effectively address hate speech on its platform — a topic Zuckerberg did not address in Friday’s announcement.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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